SANDSTONE—Defense and a big rushing performance by senior Deegan Richards were the bright spots for Ely as the Timberwolves kept East Central solidly in check for much of their contest at Bruce …
SANDSTONE—Defense and a big rushing performance by senior Deegan Richards were the bright spots for Ely as the Timberwolves kept East Central solidly in check for much of their contest at Bruce Harding Field last Friday. But the Eagles broke through twice, once at short range after a fumble recovery near Ely’s red zone, and another on a fourth-quarter drive made possible by a 40-plus yard run on a third-and-long, to notch a 16-0 win.
“We had a lot of trouble moving the ball downfield,” said Ely Head Coach Louie Gerzin. “Credit East Central— they had a good game plan against our offense.”
Ely had its opportunities. On the final play from scrimmage in the first half, Richards, playing at quarterback, broke through the defense at Ely’s 32-yard line and raced East Central’s lone safety to the end zone. It was a race that Richards would lose on East Central’s two-yard line, as time ran out. “That’s a pretty big high followed by a big low,” said Gerzin of the missed chance to put points on the board.
Ely had another opportunity in the fourth quarter when Richards picked off an East Central pass at the Eagles’ 30-yard line. But the pick didn’t change the game’s momentum as the Wolves, once again, couldn’t move the ball. Four plays later, they turned it over on downs at the 32.
The Wolves also benefitted from good field possession as East Central struggled with their punt special team, leaving the Wolves to start near midfield on several occasions.
The Eagles, by contrast, made Ely’s lone turnover hurt in the first quarter when they recovered a Wolves fumble on the Ely 25-yard line. The Eagles pushed it up the middle to put six on the board, culminating in a quick pass from the three-yard line. They added two more on the conversion and took the 8-0 lead into the break.
The Wolves simply lost ground offensively through the second half as the Eagles consistently brought down Ely runners in the backfield or swatted away their few feeble pass attempts.
East Central had only marginally better success moving the ball, with most drives ending four-and-out.
“Credit our defense, too,” said Gerzin. “They definitely performed.”
The Eagles scored their second touchdown on their only sustained drive of the game, which began on their own 32-yard line. On a third and long, the Eagles broke a back through the line and took it to the Ely 27. With a first down, East Central took it home on their next play. The conversion upped their winning margin to 16.
Richards had a huge night for Ely, rushing for 150 yards, on top of an interception and five tackles. Freshman Alex Merriman added 35 yards rushing and eight tackles, while junior Brady Eaton rushed for 25 yards and led Ely in tackles with 12. Seniors Gavin Marshall and Chase Anderson tallied eight tackles apice while junior Garrett Rohr brought down seven Mustang rushers.
The loss dropped the Wolves’ record to 0-2 as they work toward Friday’s home game with a large and physical team from South Ridge. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
The Wolves will be working in the meantime to get the offense back on track. “I don’t think we need a new playbook,” said Gerzin. “We’ve got a lot of young guys out there and they just need to do a better job of executing the plays we already have.”
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